For Real? Why Did I Do This 12.5K Trail Run…..

Okay, I know that I should be starting this with how I did a 12.5K (8 mile) trail run this last weekend and how great the weather was, how running in the outdoors was peaceful, it was so great to have this goal set while I was still pregnant, how I felt so accomplished even if I didn’t finish at the time I wanted. I could even give you a play by play of each mile.

But you know what…I just don’t feel that way about all of the above. If you know me personally or caught my vibe from other blogs you know that I try to stay positive, try to motivate. BUUTTT I also like to keep it real and true to my own experiences.

You see it started out like this….my younger brother asked me if I would like to run a 12.5K with him. At the time I was still pregnant. Not just any 12.5K, a trail run. So I thought to myself….what great motivation for me to do some running after I give birth to our daughter Ivy. Quick math in my head and I figure out she would be about 10 weeks old. Even if I couldn’t start running until 6 weeks postpartum I would still have a month to train.  And that is more than I trained for some half marathons (but that’s a story for another time). I have never done a trail run before…that sounded fun and it was a great healthy reason to spend some time with my brother….I WAS SOLD.

AND THEN….I had Ivy. I began to run. It started off well with interval training and I worked up to running two miles without stopping. Then I started having knee pain and achilles pain. It got to the point that I knew I had to back off of running if I was going to be able to do this trail run at all. With the run so close “backing off” really meant not running at all leading up to the run. Regardless I was doing this event and was going to do the best I could. I was going to walk/run it I told myself…..

The ride to Eau Claire was fun. We played some good music. Our oldest daughter Iris is 6 so she still thinks the obnoxious singing is funny. Give her a few more years and my husband and I will be old and embarrassing. Anyways…we played hang man and had some good conversations on life. unnamed-9








Iris was keeping a journal of the trip so she could show her baby sister who was staying with grandma and grandpa.


Guess the trip did have some “boring” moments based on her opening statement… “I’m am bored” (her spelling)



On to the actual 8 miles of run. I felt great starting. The temp made it into the 40’s, I was happy with that, I forgot to pack my running gloves and headband….baby brain? Once the race started I wasn’t expecting the single file line of runners needed to follow the trail but that was okay with me, I wasn’t planning on setting any time records with this run. As we approached 2 miles (the longest I ran in 10+ months) I was optimistic that I would be able to make it another mile or two without needing to walk. As we ran up hills, down hills, on the side of hills (trail run? more like a hill run……) I felt like I was looking at the ground the entire time to avoid stumbling or falling from stumps and rocks. Enjoy the scenery people told me the day before the race….ummm I was enjoying the fact that I was keeping my face out of the mud, so I stuck with staring at the ground.  Around mile 4 I knew I was holding my brother back so as he took off ahead I began to wonder where the water stations were? Remember prior to this I lived in the world of 5K run/walks and half marathons. We LOOVVEE water stations. Guess all the people at the start line with water bottles should have given me a clue. And I’m sure hauling water into the woods isn’t very ideal either. At mile 5 I did make it to the one water station to get my pixie cup of Gatorade. The next 3 miles I walked a few times. If people came up behind me I had NOOO problem stopping and stepping off the trail to let them pass. At mile 6 with 2 miles left I was starting to count down the minutes to the finish line. It gave me motivation at that point when I read the sign at the bottom of a hill that read “last hill”. Thank goodness!!…..Well that was a lie. There had to be at least five more hills after that. Needless to say I spent the next 2 miles wondering what someone’s definition of a hill was, wondering if that sign was suppose to be a joke? (they didn’t have me laughing if anyone was wondering) and thinking to myself that training for this run would have been a good idea. But I did also telling myself that I just had a baby 9.5 weeks ago and I ran…ahhum….5 times in the last 10+ months so I should be happy that my legs are still moving me forward at this point. The finish line never looked any sweeter. I finished in 1 hour and 32 minutes. Not what I wanted but it was rough, my quads were sore,  but it was over. My brother did great. I am very proud of him and the training he put in. Nice job Ty!

There was a lesson to be learned and this is what I took away from it……….

  1. Trail runs are pretty cool. Once you build up the confidence that you won’t roll your ankle every 10 seconds or fall off the side of a hill you can actually enjoy outdoors and the peacefulness of nature.
  2. Trail Runners are the real deal. I’m not even confident “trail runners” is the correct label for this group. But whatever terminology they prefer, I have mad respect for them.
  3. Family is everything. Its so easy to let months and years slip away from us without connecting with our families. Texts, phone calls, and emails can’t replace physically being at the same place at the same time.  If running through woods is what it took for this short family bonding experience so be it. unnamed-4 unnamed-3
  4. Training is essential for this kind of thing. Sure you can will yourself through it like I did. But do you really want to be walking up and down stairs like you are 90 years old for days and praying a fly doesn’t land on your quads causing incredible pain? I think not. Give yourself time to prepare and train.
  5. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may not ever do it again but I guarantee you will take something out of the situation that you will refer to for a very long time. If nothing else you can put it on your “been there, done that” list.

Nothing lasts forever and there is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow. Don’t regret anything that makes you stronger.